Putin Admits China Has “Questions and Concerns” About Ukraine Invasion

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday praised China’s “balanced position” in the Ukraine war, although he admitted that Beijing has “questions and concerns” about the invasion, in what appeared to be an admission. veiled of differing opinions on the protracted military attack.

Putin made the remarks as he met in person with Chinese leader Xi Jinping for the first time since his invasion at a regional summit in Uzbekistan, days after Russia suffered a series of major military setbacks in Ukraine.

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Russian troops are retreating en masse, having lost more territory in one week than captured in five months.

China has so far refused to openly condemn Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine while increasing economic assistance to its neighbour, boosting bilateral trade to record levels in a boon for Russian business amid Western sanctions. .

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“We very much appreciate the balanced stance of our Chinese friends on the Ukrainian crisis. We understand your questions and concerns in this regard,” Putin said in a speech opening the meeting.

“At today’s meeting, of course, we will explain in detail our position on this matter, although we have talked about this before.”

Xi said China “will work with Russia to extend strong mutual support on issues concerning each other’s core interests” and “play a leading role in injecting stability and positive energy into a world of change and disorder,” according to with a reading of the meeting provided by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Xi also said he appreciated “Russia’s adherence to the one-China principle and emphasized that Taiwan is part of China.”

The two authoritarian leaders have emerged as close partners in recent years, buoyed by growing conflict with the West and a strong personal bond.

China has offered tacit support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, while Moscow has backed Beijing and criticized Washington for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei in August.

Beijing has responded to its trip with unprecedented military exercises around the autonomous democratic island, which it claims as its own territory. The White House tried to downplay the meeting between Putin and Xi on Thursday, saying Beijing has yet to violate Western sanctions on Moscow or provide direct material assistance to Russia.

“Our message to China, I think, was consistent: that this is not the time for any sort of business as usual with Putin, given what he has done inside Ukraine. This is not the time to be isolated from the rest of the international community, which has broadly condemned what he is doing in Ukraine and has not only condemned him, but has also gone out of his way to help Ukrainians defend themselves and their territorial integrity.” CNN the coordinator of the National Security Council for Strategic Communications.

In Ukraine, their army is not doing well, and I think it is certainly up to the Kremlin to want to get closer to Beijing in relation to what is happening there.”

At Thursday’s meeting, Putin condemned the United States for what he said were “provocations” in the Taiwan Strait and criticized what he claimed were attempts to “create a unipolar world”.

These attempts, he said, “have recently taken an ugly shape and are absolutely unacceptable to most states on the planet.”

The two are talking on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security-focused group that also includes India, Pakistan and four Central Asian countries.

In a symbolic show of strength and unity, the Russian and Chinese navies conducted joint patrols and exercises in the Pacific Ocean just hours before their leaders’ meeting, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

At the start of the meeting on Thursday, Putin stressed the deepening of economic ties between China and Russia, noting that bilateral trade exceeded $140 billion last year. “I am convinced that by the end of the year we will reach new record levels and in the near future, as agreed, we will increase our annual revenue to US$200 billion or more,” he said.

Putin last met Xi during a visit to the Chinese capital for the Winter Olympics in February this year. It was at this meeting that the two leaders structured their “no limits” partnership and released a 5,000-word document expressing their shared opposition to the “new NATO enlargement”.

For Xi, meanwhile, Thursday’s meeting comes as part of his first trip outside China’s borders in more than two years, and just weeks before he seeks to secure a third term at a major political meeting in Beijing – a move that would cement his status as China’s most powerful leader in decades.

China has turned increasingly inward since the start of the pandemic and continues to maintain a strict zero Covid policy that limits outbound travel.

Xi’s trip to Central Asia is a return to the world stage and offers him the opportunity to show that despite growing tensions with the West, China still has friends and partners and is ready to reassert its global influence.

Before arriving at the summit, Xi visited Kazakhstan, where in 2013 he unveiled his flagship Belt and Road Initiative, a massive infrastructure project stretching from East Asia to Europe.

In a meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Wednesday, Xi said China would like to partner with Kazakhstan to “continue to pioneer Belt and Road cooperation.” Xi also told Tokayev that “China will always support Kazakhstan in maintaining national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese state media reported.

The Chinese leader traveled to Uzbekistan on Wednesday night and met with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. He also met with the presidents of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan the next day.

Source: CNN Brasil

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